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Mars - UAE Hope Probe

AFT Impulse Used to Help Design UAE Mars Probe

March 24, 2021 -- Colorado Springs, CO, USA -- Applied Flow Technology (AFT) is no stranger to aerospace engineering. After all, our founding leaders, Trey Walters and Jeff Olsen, have backgrounds in aerospace engineering. AFT software tools are consistently utilized by several aerospace companies, and we are frequent guests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to provide training to engineers who use AFT software.

AFT Impulse is consistently used around the world to help simulate and analyze systems for surge and waterhammer. While many use AFT Impulse to reactively troubleshoot and mitigate this phenomenon, other engineers have become accustomed to performing an analysis prior to releasing the project to prevent such occurrences. In the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) probe, engineers used AFT Impulse to proactively analyze the thruster system of their historic Mars probe. 

A few years ago, AFT learned that AFT Impulse was being used on the UAE Mars Probe, named Hope.

Hope’s spacecraft propulsion system was a unique situation. The probe needed to fire its six thrusters for nearly half an hour straight (27 minutes to be exact) to slow down enough to slip into orbit around Mars, from 75,000 mph to 11,000 mph (121,000 kph to 18,000 kph). Engineers had to be especially detailed as they could not fully test the braking burn sequence. Project director, Omran Sharaf told BBC News, “If we go too slow, we crash on Mars; if we go too fast, we skip Mars.”

So, Hope was designed, analyzed, built, and deployed by some of the most intelligent minds around the world; and while the Probe sent back data during the sequence, everyone here on Earth watched and waited to see if it would successfully insert into orbit or not. Before it was done, the process burned approximately half of the total fuel the probe carried on its journey. The probe successfully inserted into orbit and will provide significant amounts of research over the next several years.

Applied Flow Technology is extremely proud of all our software products. While most projects are proprietary information, occasionally, we get a glance at a project like this. We are proud to be a software tool made by engineers for engineers. Hearing of projects like this motivates AFT to continue to develop software tools engineers can rely on to help design reliable, safe, and efficient piping and ducting systems.

This mission signifies the first-ever interplanetary mission for the UAE. AFT congratulates all the UAE project teams who exhaustively worked to bring this accomplishment to fruition.

Read more about Hope:

Emirates Mars Mission: Hope probe lines up historic Mars manoeuvre

© 2021 Applied Flow Technology